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Navigation Acts and Mercantilism

Uploaded by gockets on Mar 20, 2004

Navigation Acts

The Navigation Acts, or the Acts of Trade, were a set of rules or laws drafted by the British which, in effect, protected British commerce and economy. Among other things, the acts stated that the only ships which would be allowed to import European goods were ships that were owned by Englishmen, contained goods that were to be shipped to people of the origin country, or whose first shipment was to England. Holland, who was England's main competitor at the time, was completely decimated by this blow. The Navigations act caused Holland’s trade to drop off very sharply, promptly eliminating any competition from the international seas.

The Navigation Acts also imposed several other seemingly harsh rules of trade, forcing all foreign commodities to be shipped through English ports before reaching their final destination of America. The British Empire also ensured that the American colonies could only export their staple goods (sugar, cotton, tobacco) to them, guaranteeing that England would be the only nation to prosper from the newly founded colonies. This, along with other contributing issues, spawned increasingly negative sentiment between the colonists and British, especially over the issue of sugar. Due to hiked taxes on French Indian sugar, the colonists were forced to buy considerably more expensive British Indian sugar. This lead to more colonial hatred towards the Crown, leading to smuggling, which of course led to the Crown further disliking the colonies.

Triangle Trade Routes

The international traders found a rather ingenious way of legally bypassing England’s Navigation Acts by means of what were known was the “triangle trade routes.” Trade ships would begin in the colonies, where they would fill their ships with furs, grains, and other materials not immediately available in Europe, and then sail to Europe, selling and unloading all of their wares. The ship would then restock with goods not available in England, then head to England where the ship would then be unloaded again. The ship was then packed to the brim for the long voyage to back to the colonies where the process would start over again.

Another well-known triangle trade route was used to transport slaves from Africa to the colonies or the West Indies. The colonies would trade their goods in exchange for slaves, while the West Indies would trade their molasses. This practice made many people aristocrats, as well as...

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Uploaded by:   gockets

Date:   03/20/2004

Category:   Economics

Length:   2 pages (482 words)

Views:   12586

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